Francis Heylighen


Francis Heylighen

Francis Heylighen (born 1960) is a Belgian cyberneticist. He works as a research professor at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, the Dutch-speaking Free University of Brussels, where he directs the transdisciplinary research group on "Evolution, Complexity and Cognition." ( [http://ecco.vub.ac.be/ ECCO] ).

Work

His research focuses on the emergence and evolution of complex, intelligent organization. Applications include the origin of life, the development of multicellular organisms, knowledge, culture, and societies, and the impact of information and communication technologies on future social evolution.

Basic principles

This impressive variety of ideas is held together by two basic principles. The relational principle notes that phenomena can only exist in relation (connection or distinction) to other phenomena, and thus only make sense as part of a complex network or system. The evolutionary principle notes that variation through (re)combination of parts and natural selection of the fitter combinations results in ever more complex and adaptive systems.

The two principles come together in Heylighen's concept of a distinction dynamics, which he first formulated in his PhD thesis (and later book), "Representation and Change". In Heylighen's analysis, classical scientific methodology is based on given, unchanging distinctions between elements or states. Therefore, it is intrinsically unable to model creative change. But the evolutionary principle makes distinctions dynamic, explaining the creation and destruction of relations, distinctions and connections, and thus helping us to understand how and why complexity emerges.

Principia Cybernetica

Together with Cliff Joslyn and Valentin Turchin, he is editor of the Principia Cybernetica Project, which is devoted to the collaborative development of an evolutionary-systemic philosophy. He created its website, the [http://pespmc1.vub.ac.be/ Principia Cybernetica Web] , in 1993, as one of the first complex webs in the world. It is still viewed as the most important site on cybernetics, systems theory and related approaches.

Global brain

Together with his PhD student Johan Bollen, in 1995 Heylighen was the first to propose algorithms that could turn the world-wide web into a self-organizing, learning network that exhibits collective intelligence, i.e. a Global brain. He is also one of the first to formulate a theory of memetics that can be empirically tested. He is one of the founders, and the present editor, of the [http://www.jom-emit.org Journal of Memetics] .

ee also

* Adaptive representation
* Collective intelligence
* Cybernetics
* Global brain
* Metasystem transition
* Principia Cybernetica
* Self-organization
* Superorganism
* Valentin Turchin

Publications

Heylighen's scientific work (he published over 90 papers and a book) covers an extremely wide range of subjects, exemplifying his intellectual curiosity and fundamentally transdisciplinary way of thinking. In addition to the topics mentioned above, subjects include the foundations of quantum mechanics, the structure of space-time, hypermedia interfaces, the psychology of self-actualization and happiness, the market mechanism, formality and contextuality in language, causality, and the measurement of social progress.

References

External links

* [http://pcp.vub.ac.be/HEYL.html Francis Heylighen's] Homepage
* [http://pespmc1.vub.ac.be/papers/CV-Heylighen.pdf. Francis Heylighen's] Curriculum Vitae, 2005.
* [http://www.goertzel.org/benzine/heylighenProfile.htm Francis Heylighen: Pioneer of the Global Brain] by Ben Goertzel
* [http://pespmc1.vub.ac.be/ Principia Cybernetica Web]


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Principia Cybernetica — is an international organisation in the field of cybernetics and systems science focused on the collaborative development of a computer supported evolutionary systemic philosophy in the context of the transdisciplinary academic fields of Systems… …   Wikipedia

  • Metasystem transition — A metasystem transition is the emergence, through evolution, of a higher level of organization or control. Prime examples are the origin of life, the transition from unicellular to multicellular organisms, the emergence of eusociality or symbolic …   Wikipedia

  • Donald T. Campbell — Donald Thomas Campbell (November 20, 1916 May 5, 1996) was an American social scientist. He is noted for his work in methodology. He coined the term evolutionary epistemology and developed a selectionist theory of human creativity. Conte …   Wikipedia

  • Global brain — The Global Brain is a metaphor for the intelligent network formed by humans together with the knowledge and communication technologies that connect them. The term was first coined in 1982 by Peter Russell in his book The Global Brain . The first… …   Wikipedia

  • Self-organization — is a process of attraction and repulsion in which the internal organization of a system, normally an open system, increases in complexity without being guided or managed by an outside source. Self organizing systems typically (though not always)… …   Wikipedia

  • Cliff Joslyn — Cliff Joslyn, 2006. Cliff Joslyn (born 1963) is an American cognitive scientist, cyberneticist, and currently Chief Scientist for Knowledge Sciences at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Seattle, Washington, USA. Contents …   Wikipedia

  • Memetics — This article is related to the study of self replicating units of culture, not to be confused with mimetics. Memetics is a theory of mental content based on an analogy with Darwinian evolution, originating from Richard Dawkins 1976 book The… …   Wikipedia

  • Adaptive representation — is an extension by Francis Heylighen to Kant s theory of knowledge.According to Kant, perception passes by the filters of the mind who observes the phenomena. In this line, there exists in the human mind invariant and a priori principles of… …   Wikipedia

  • Effet Flynn — James R. Flynn en juin 2007 On appelle effet Flynn l accroissement lent et que l on a quelque temps cru inexorable du rendement moyen à des tests de type QI observé depuis 100 ans dans les pays industrialisés. Ce qui se traduit dans la pratique… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • L'effet Flynn — Effet Flynn James R. Flynn en juin 2007 On appelle effet Flynn l accroissement lent et que l on a quelques temps cru inexorable du rendement moyen à des tests de type Q.I. observé depuis 100 ans dans les pays industrialisés. Ce qui se traduit… …   Wikipédia en Français


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.